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Why do we need to drink water?

Eyes, General, Constipation | April 22, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Blood pressure, dry eye, general

Why do we need to drink water?

Water in our body is the fluid in which all the processes of life occur. It comprises from 75% of the body weight in infants to 55% in the elderly and is essential for life. Without water we would die within days. It is considered an essential nutrient because our body needs more than we would be able to produce internally.

The water in our body is found within our cells (intracellular fluid) and between our cells (interstitial fluid) and where the entire system of cells and fluid are continuously changing components, it is able to remain constant, under normal circumstances. When homeostasis is disturbed the body is able to quickly respond to bring back control.

So, what does the water in our body do?

Water in the body fluids:

Lubricates and cushions – the joints, spinal cord, inside the eyes, and even the amniotic fluid around the foetus in the womb.

Transports nutrients and waste product though the body.

Maintains Blood volume – this influences blood pressure.

Throughout the day the kidneys reabsorb nutrients and water and excrete waste with some water in urine. The kidneys are monitoring and adjusting the volume of urine based on water and diet intake. When the extracellular fluid becomes to concentrated, blood pressure becomes too low or blood volume decreases, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to release antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which tells the kidneys to reabsorb water.

So, what does the water in our body do?The more water you need, the less the kidneys will excrete.

So If you don’t pass urine very often, it could be your kidneys trying to save you from dehydration. ADH is considered the water saving hormone.

Time for a drink which will bring the body back to homeostasis (maintaining internal stability).

Fluid and Electrolyte Balance – 2 thirds of fluid maintained inside of cells and one third outside the cells. It is the  action of minerals that controls the movement of water. Too much fluid in the cell and it would rupture, too little and it would collapse.

Thermoregulation - aids in temperature regulation. Keeps us from getting too hot.

Dissolves minerals, vitamins, amino acids and glucose amongst other small molecules. Water is required for digestion, dissolving and transporting the food we eat into nutrients for absorption and then assisting in the elimination of waste products from the body.

Maintains the structure of larger molecules such as proteins and glycogen.

Involved in metabolic reactions.

Factors linked with intake

Thirst is usually the first indicator of water intake. This is prompted by the hypothalamus, the centre of the brain that controls such things as water balance, body temperature and appetite.

So, what does the water in our body do?The mouth and nerves also sense the need for water. When the blood becomes concentrated from lack of water, the mouth becomes dry and the hypothalamus initiates the need to drink. Receptors located in the stomach signal when to stop drinking, and receptors in the heart monitor blood volume. Unfortunately, the indicators that initiate the need to drink are usually behind the body’s need and often dehydration can occur.

People will often ignore the signals to drink if they are busy. Children can be too involved in play and the elderly are at risk of dehydration as signals for thirst are not as strong.

What is dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the output of fluid is greater than the input. This can be from too much water loss, as in a marathon runner from perspiration, or from a lack of water consumption.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry skin and mucous membranes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue

Serious dehydration lead to exhaustion, delirium and death – this can happen very quickly

So, what does the water in our body do?If you’re not yet convinced that you need to include water in your life, here are some incentives:

Headaches or migraines – studies indicate that dehydration may be a cause of some headaches and migraines

Brain fog – studies show that it only takes mild dehydration to impair brain function and may also influence your mood

Energy – fatigue can be a consequence of dehydration. Replacing fluid can prolong exercise endurance and prevent oxidative stress.

Exercise performance – dehydration influences exercise performance can damage DNA damage when athletes exercise to exhaustion.

Constipation – this condition can be a cause of this condition. Increasing consumption can be a very cheap way of resolving an uncomfortable issue.
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Kidney stones – so while we are talking about areas of elimination – water intake can help dilute the mineral salts that can accumulate in the kidney – preventing these from solidifying into stones.
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Dry eyes – like the whole body, our eyes can also suffer the consequence of dehydration resulting in gritty, tired eyes – an indicator of a lack of tears to lubricate the eye resulting in dry eyes.
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Weight loss! Who could imagine that drinking water could help with weight loss. Well it is true. Drinking water can help you feel full – have a glass half an hour before eating, but it also increases metabolism – helping you burn fat. 

Time for a glass of water!

So Where do we get our water from?

So Where do we get our water from?Solid food would you believe can give you about 700-800 mLs, or 20% of your water intake. Foods higher in water include strawberries, watermelon lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and broccoli – giving from 99-100%. Followed by apples, grapes, oranges, carrots and yoghurt.

Drinking water of course, and other fluids such as juice and non-fat milk.

Metabolism, which provides approximately 250mls

Concerns of the health of drinking water can be helped by the use of water purification systems. Examples of these include:

  • Carbon filters
  • Ceramic filters
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water ioniser

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How much do we need?

It is very hard to determine how much is needed. This is influenced by:

  • Metabolism
  • Diet
  • Activity
  • Environment temperature

If it’s a hot day and you are gardening or running a marathon, obviously your need for water is greater.

The bottom line is even if you don’t like to drink water, remember your body needs it. Choose from foods high in water to help increase your daily supply

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References

Whitney, Eleanor Noss; Cataldo, Corinne Balog; Rolfes, Sharon Rady; 2002, Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition 6th Edition, Wadsworth/Thompsons Learning, Australia

Water, Hydration and Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/water

Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women https://www.nature.com/articles/1602573

Water-deprivation headache: a new headache with two variants. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14979888

Water deprivation: a new migraine precipitant. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15953311

The effects of fluid restriction on hydration status and subjective feelings in man. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182398

Fluid replacement following dehydration reduces oxidative stress during recovery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19344695

The relation of hydration status to cognitive performance in healthy older adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15210289

The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/

Is whole-body hydration an important consideration in dry eye? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22952120

Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese older adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589036

Pre-meal water consumption reduces meal energy intake in older but not younger subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17228036

Water-induced thermogenesis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205

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